Sponsored feature

Is Apple above strategic PR?

How does Apple get away with flouting all accepted comms practices?

Despite being the world's largest company by market cap, Apple doesn't issue that many press releases. Yet there is a global media audience hungry for its news. And there are millions of consumers and tech-heads desperate for an Apple fix. So how does Apple control how its corporate message plays out in the media?

On 29 October, with the American media focused on Hurricane Sandy and the New York Stock Exchange closed ahead of the storm, Apple issued a press release announcing a management shake-up by new CEO, Tim Cook. Cue global coverage.

So how did a plain press release about changes to the organisational chart to 'increase collaboration across hardware, software and services' lead to The Wall Street Journal running the headline 'the Tim Cook era at Apple really begins' and the Financial Times 'Apple reboot'?

Now a PR professional like you and me would pre-brief a few key corporate media journalists. As a listed company, Apple would be expected to want big names such as the FT, WSJ, New York Times, Reuters etc to get the right message about strong leadership and management. But not Apple.

Such is the worldwide hunger for Apple news that it feels it would have little impact. It's just too big a brand. A few pre-briefed articles would be swamped by the global coverage generated by the press release, the speed at which it would happen, and the social media speculation.

Instead, Apple seems to trust to the power of its corporate brand and has confidence that in the places that matter, speculation will be informed. And if it is not in the places that matter, it is ignored. It is contrary to the PR rule book - as is its extensive use of 'no comment'. But it seems to matter not a jot.

Just as the BBC brand can withstand the Savile scandal and Sachsgate, so Apple can currently rely on an instinctive response to its announcements.

It's not to say that there is no role for PR - for Apple or the BBC - but can brands grow to a size that means they don't need strategic PR any longer?

TAKEAWAY TIPS

 

 

 

 

Andrew Caesar-Gordon

Ultimately, Apple's existing brand and corporate reputation will stand or fall on its ability to continue to innovate in the face of competition.

For now, Apple's brand and overarching corporate narrative is strong enough that, for example, it didn't need to offer reasons for the departure of two key executives (including one appointed by Cook a mere six months ago); it can endure the speculation. But as Facebook's recent history has shown, when you misstep and suffer poor PR, you get strategic reputational damage. And then management really wants some strategic PR.

Read more Message in the Media articles here

MESSAGEINTHEMEDIA AUTOFEEDMESSAGEINTHEMEDIA AUTOFEEDMESSAGEINTHEMEDIA AUTOFEED

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

Department store John Lewis is to use its 150th anniversary this year to talk about its history, which "not enough people know about", according to director of communications Peter Cross.

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

The man who helped Barack Obama win the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections is to work for Labour along with members of his team.

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Pay-TV giant Sky has added Fever PR to its agency line-up for a wide-ranging brief covering products and services.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home for Easter and will reconvene on Tuesday for further deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

The Home Office has tasked Munro & Forster (M&F) with supporting its campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of a wider retained brief.